Scientists from institutes in Singapore and the US have announced a collaboration to develop nano-elctromechanical (NEM) relay technology to provide ultra-low power computation.
The Institute of Microelectronics (IME), a research institute for the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) in Singapore, will join with Stanford University in the US in a collaborative partnership which will seek to continue development of the technology.
NEMS-based integrated circuits are considered to be highly useful with regards to producing greener electronics as they eliminate power leakage - one of the main sources of power consumption in current scaled devices. NEMS is being touted as the next frontier for the semiconductor industry's miniaturisation.
The project will be led by Dr Navab Singh, Principal Investigator of the Nano-Electronics Programme at IME, alongside Professor H.S. Philip Wong, Professor Roger Howe, and Professor Subhasish Mitra from Stanford University.
According to Professor Wong the collaboration will look at how NEMS devices can offer opportunities other than just lower power consumption, and will attempt to lower the cost of production: “Our collaboration will leverage on IME’s established CMOS platform and state-of-the-art clean room infrastructure to develop a practical and robust process flow for NEMS device fabrication. The success of a CMOS compatible process flow will drive down the production costs of these state-of-the-art NEMS devices to accelerate other emerging applications in electronics, chemistry and biology, not just ultra-low power computation.”
“Not only do the NEMS devices allow much greater integration density to enable even smaller form factor to be attained, these devices are also suitable for use in robust electronic systems, given their high tolerance to harsh operating environments,” added Dr Singh. “This project extends and strengthens our R&D partnership with Stanford University.”
Professor Dim-Lee Kwong, Executive Director of IME meanwhile remarked on the potential impact that NEMS in the consumer market: “Consumers’ insatiable appetite for multifunctional intelligent systems will propel the development of NEMS technology. We can expect NEMS technology to play a key role in the world-wide effort to produce environmentally-oriented solutions that will directly impact our lifestyles.”